This Blog Is About

This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Simple Practice for Beginners
If you’re not sure how to begin meditating, studies show that even just 10 minutes a day can provide significant mental, emotional and physical health benefits. Here’s a simple technique to get you started: Simply sit quietly and focus your attention, as well as your breathing, on a particular object such as a small stone. As thoughts and emotions arise, simply acknowledge and release them, bringing your attention back to your breath. As your practice unfolds, you may find that there is more and more space between your internal monologues, allowing for a sense of openness and freedom from everyday stresses and distractions. This is where the meditation and healing process truly begins. Initially, you should notice tangible benefits like better mental focus, improved emotional balance and increased energy.  Dr. Isaac Eliaz

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fallen Angels

Some of us strive for perfection in all we do

 I began re-visiting this subject  when I happened  to watch a
 documentary about aid to Haiti after the massive earthquake they suffered there.  There was so much effort from various corners of the world at that time; some countries sent their military and there were also civilian volunteers who made their way there on their own steam.  Think of the compassionate drive those individuals must have---to interrupt their own lives, find a way to transport themselves to a faraway place, and then dive in to help, to help strangers, people of a culture different from theirs, but people in tremendous need.  Some individuals feel that---the need in such a situation--- and feel it to such a degree that it drives them to act.  Amazing   Inspiring.
In addition, there is chaos and danger in a situation like that.  For one thing, sanitation systems are destroyed or damaged.  Water:  One of the main things the U.S. Air Force was delivering was containers of clean drinking water.  Chaos itself can be disturbing but sometimes it also brings people to a point of desperation and that, too, can be dangerous.  Nonetheless, people went:  Compassion overrode fear.  And, they did the best they could.
In such a disaster, the problems can seem SO vast and nearly endless.  It is easy to feel frustrated, to see your own contribution as a drop in the bucket.  In the film, a pilot, returning to his home base was reflecting on what they'd done on the mission.  He talked about how some people had talked about how they had fallen short, how so much was left to be done.  His observation was that some people say that if it's not perfect, it's useless. But his own way of thinking about it all was, as he put it, to remember the smiles on the faces of the people they did help. 

I liked how he he kept his perspective, how he comforted himself, how he was able to recognize that he had done what he could.  Many of us could take a lesson from his way of dealing with a difficult experience.  Some of us try to be perfect when we are just human.  Humans aren't perfect.  We are all fallen angels.

This applies to therapy too.  A person or a couple may enter therapy with grand expectations.  The truth is one never knows how the process will go nor the outcome.  Usually you will benefit and your outcome will be productive.  But, there are not guarantees and no way to predict.  It is something you must enter into wholeheartedly, with honesty, being candid and, also, open to whatever evolves in the process.

Do you find yourself expecting perfection from yourself and others?  How does this impact your life?  Your comments will be helpful to those who follow this blog.


99% of the posts here are not time-limited.  They will be as useful today as the day they were posted. 

There are 355 posts here.  Don't miss out.  Look around.  Peruse.  Write in the search bar.  Click on labels.  There's a lot to find. 

Let me know what you discover!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Flow is linked to happiness, health, and, even to success

"Flow is the feeling of total immersion in an activity with the loss of a sense of time and sometimes of self; in flow, emotions are positive, energized, and focused solely on the task at hand."  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  
Credited with authoring the concept or notion of "flow", he has also said:  It is the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.
Sometimes we will hear people say things like, 'As I was playing the piano today, I got completely lost in the music.' or, 'I was so immersed in the experiment that I totally lost track of time.'  These experiences are so common  that expressions have evolved into the language to express them. 
And, yet, often we don't notice.  Once we finally interrupt ourselves or, are interrupted, by everyday demands, we forget to remark upon the the fact that we were feeling joy.
Most people want to be happy, and in fact, pursue happiness as if it were an obtainable object.  And, yet, many of us are enjoying the positive emotions that are vital to health, well-being, and, happiness itself on a routine basis.  It seems as if we just don't know to take note of it.
So, notice!
From Dacher Keltner, here are some words to help you focus on the good in your own life experience:  
  • play and mirth
  • beauty
  • compassion and empathy
  • contentment and savoring
See my related post, titled, Reverse Charting  
Nourishment to the Soul

During what times, experiences, encounters, do you experience flow?---please share with us.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Button

What the heck is that donate button that showed up?!  Well, you do know the backstory---how the button came to be, so, here's my thoughts about it

 I hope you don't mind it.  And I think you might actually like it.
 It's a multi-use button: 
 It tells me that what I am doing is important to you. 
 It helps me to be able to keep doing it.  It gives you a way to respond and reciprocate.  
 It creates a gift exchange between us.

In short,  If you like this site, please consider a small donation.
P.S.  I've already had 2 donations!!  Three has been my lucky number on this blog.

I wrote a little joke at the beginning about what you might be thinking but as always, I want to know what you really think.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Occasionally I offer an art announcement; here's something very interesting

I f you are in the state or nearby, this might be an exhibit you'd like to see.  This is a huge fabric sculpture which is integrated into the landscape (at Montalvo Art Center).  So, not only is a person wearing this "dress tent" but vegetables and flowers are growing up into it.  (It is part of a series of dress tents - which you can view on the artist's website, Adrienne Pao).  
While each piece has a multi-layered meaning, as does this one, this particular piece is an ode to the current trend in this area of Urban Farming.    So, if you click on this link, you can see more about this unusual piece of art:


Sunday, July 8, 2012

You, a Legend in Your Own Time

Being Who You Want To Be

Is there a particular quality you just so wish you had?  One that you admire in someone else?  A way you want to be?  
How about versatile or adaptable or the one who can 'go with the flow', the easy-going person. Possibly you like the opposite of that, the energetic type, the one who is always ready to go on to the next thing, an adventuresome type.  Maybe you'd like to be seen as elegant.  Perhaps you'd like to develop an ambitious, independent spirit.  Or it's more important to you that people see you as being friendly.
There are as many choices as there are people, what do you place a value on? 
Think of whom you admire; what is it about that person that provokes that feeling in you, the feeling of admiration?  Once you identify the quality, you can begin to develop that characteristic in yourself.  Yes, you can!

Why not?  First take it apart into it's components:  If it's elegance, what are the parts that add up to finally giving that impression---beautifully groomed? composed? great posture? excellent manners? 
How about friendly?  How does a friendly person behave?  Are they relaxed in their demeanor with new people, do they open up themselves in conversation, smile, show interest in others?
Once you have the components, you can begin practicing them yourself.  Yes, you can become a person you, yourself admire. 

Once you have chosen the quality you want to adopt, let me know what you are working on.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Things Are Not Always What They Seem

One of the most common and very difficult feelings to contend with is the feeling of envy.
Artist:  Morgan Konn
 A lot of envy is provoked by thinking someone you know has more money than you do.  But, there are also other sources of envy---a relationship that is stable and happy, a woman who seems ageless and amazingly attractive, a person for whom everything seems to come easily, and I'm sure you can come up with others.
From my years as a therapist, being privy to the inside view and, also, from my own life experience, I have come to the conclusion that usually people pay-one way or another-for what goodies they got in life.   Are there some who are just a lucky few?
Well, sure.  But, honestly, in my observations, for the most part, life, in fact, is fair.

Here are just a few examples-true situations, just slight changes in details to protect identity-that I happen to know about:  I know a guy who is married to someone who was smart with finances (trained in accounting) and had some computer development savvy and so she made a lot of money in stock investments during the dot com hey-day.  They live very well, traveling in comfort and occupying a beautiful house when they are home.  They have plenty to leave their grown children and if they have them, their future grandchildren, well-off.  He does work but only as much as he wants to; his job isn't something they need to rely on financially.  
The stress level for these two is low; they enjoy a lot of ease in the mundane details of life management.  So, here's the rub:  He has confided in me that he is not happy in his marriage.  He cares about his wife and yet she doesn't pay attention to him in the ways that would make him feel valued.  But, between a strong commitment to family and the so very comfortable life that he lives, he has never been able to take the step to leave.  He considered it seriously at one point but couldn't bring himself to go forward.  This is a case where there is a trade-off.  It would not be apparent to the casual on-looker.  They have a wonderful social life with their fellow church members, are agreeable in their relationship---there are no big rows, and they both have hobbies that they enjoy.  But, as you can see, the full picture is not as perfect as it seems.

Yesterday I saw the movie, People Like Us.  In that film, there is a sub-plot wherein one of the main characters carries a resentment which he has developed over his entire life only to find out that there is a perfectly rational explanation.  Had circumstances not come together for the truth to be revealed to him, he might have suffered bitterly for the remainder of his life. So, this film may serve as an illustration of the concept that things are not always as they seem and that often we make incorrect assumptions and hold them as reality.

I'll offer one more true story to illustrate this point:  This one is simple; it is just about a woman for whom things seems to come easily in life.  She has created a lovely home, she occasionally entertains and is quite gracious, she always seems to be perfectly groomed, cool calm and collected.  The truth is that she has worked very hard, sometimes at labor intensive jobs, all of her life.  She struggles a lot to keep up with all of her obligations.  She feels lonely sometimes.  She says:  "I don't like to complain.".  She has told me that she thinks that it is unfair to unload her troubles on others.  So she  tries to be a pleasant companion to those she interacts with in her life.  Her facade is always friendly, warm, and upbeat.  You can see how this person might be miss perceived.

Both of these individuals, in the first and last story, mean well.  They're not despicable liars.  They just found themselves developing a life that leaves them often misunderstood and the subject of unfounded envy.
In the second story, envy was not an element but a person had created an explanation in his own mind of a troubling experience; it was based on appearances that were not as they seemed.
Envy doesn't feel good and usually doesn't help people to bond.  So it is a problem for both the envier and the envied.
The help I can offer you is the assurance that, for the most part, if you know the back story, the envy usually disappears.
By remembering that appearances can be deceiving, you may be able, sometime, to relieve yourself of the miserable feeling of envy.

Do you have a story you know that you can share with us which illustrates this concept?